the scepter shall not depart from judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
binding his foal to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine
and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
his eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk. [genesis 49:10-12]
so much imagery of Christ here! come into his presence, meditate on:
a scepter that does not depart: coming boldly into the presence of God
esther, in the book that bears her name, knows that going in front of the king to save the jews from genocide means her certain death–but her response–”if i perish, i perish”!
“all the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. but as for me, i have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days.” [esther 4:11 emphasis added]
Jesus, our King, is so much more powerful than an earthly king–and his eternal and infinite scepter will judge the nations! like esther, we approach the throne boldly because of what he has done for us. Jesus extends the favor of his golden scepter to us so that we may live eternally in his presence!
garments washed in wine: purchased to be in the presence of God
john at patmos sees a vision of future glory:
after this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “amen! bessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! amen.”
then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “sir, you know.” and he said to me, “these are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. [revelation 7:9-14 emphasis added]
the only way that we are able to come into his presence is because we are purchased by the blood of the lamb, the stain of guilt on us is only cleansed by Christ’s bloody death at calvary!
wine and milk: the presence of God as our sustenance
the prophets saw wine and milk as a symbol of health of the land, sustenance, purity, and prosperity–
“and in that day
the mountains shall drip sweet wine,
and the hills shall flow with milk,
and all the streambeds of judah
shall flow with water;
and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord
and water the valley of shittim. [joel 3:18 emphasis added]
“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price. [isaiah 55:1 emphasis added]
in genesis 49, we see the face of Christ (eyes as dark as wine, teeth as white as milk) as a picture of our sustaining grace! it costs us nothing to buy the wine and milk that will sustain us, but it is a costly grace freely given to us in the slaughter of the Father’s Son. in this season as we remember the Christ-child–”turn your eyes upon Jesus–look full in his wonderful face!”